Josh Hamilton will have to wait another day to find his first hit of the spring with his new Los Angeles Angels team. The former Texan Ranger had a busy offseason, trading the grassy centerfield in Arlington for the Caves in LA’s outfield and made his debut in right field on Tuesday.
With the ink still drying on a $125 million dollar contract, none of the three biggest hitters in the Angels lineup made any noise during a 7-7 tie. Of course, Albert Pujols is out another couple of weeks recovering from offseason knee surgery and Mike Trout did not play because he made his debut on Monday instead.
Hamilton, on the other hand, went 0-2 with a ground out to shortstop and a fly out to center field. Winding down his career in Texas, the lefty slugger was widely boo’d as the Rangers’ season came tumbling down, first losing the division the final week of the season in a sweep to the Oakland Athletics and then failing to get past the play-in game of the playoffs, falling to the revived Baltimore Orioles.
A main criticism for Hamilton down the stretch was his lack of plate discipline, often swinging early in the count or expanding his strike zone. Hamilton has pledged to Angels’ hitting coach, Jim Eppard, he would not swing at every strike this season and then promptly took the first pitch he saw from Diamondbacks’ starter, Eddie Bonine, and grounded out.
During Hamilton’s second at bat he was more patient, instead electing to put the second pitch in play and flying out. The Angels have high hopes for an offense centered around Trout, Pujols and Hamilton, with the latter projected to hit cleanup and try to carry over his success in Texas. Hamilton hit 100 HR and delivered 322 RBI during three seasons in Arlington.